Cowork Klitmøller

The new Cowork Klitmøller is undisputedly taking shape

We have been working (a.k.a. practically lived on the building site) for nine weeks, and the project on Ørhagevej 84 is beginning to take shape. Fortunately, we haven't encountered major obstacles; everything is (knock on wood) going according to planned. The result is, in our humble opinion, fantastic.

At the beginning of January, Fejerskov and I will continue to work on the outside of the building for around one-and-a-half weeks; the rest of the team will move inside. We will join them in the middle of January. There, we will work round the clock until the beginning of March when you'll receive the next update.

It's impossible, and maybe only interesting to us, to describe what we've been through. Instead, here is Mette's depiction of the process:

It is still the goal to be finished by Saturday, April 1st for the official opening day and party. You may put that date on your calendar.

We can't wait to invite you to enjoy the new Cowork & Guesthouse Klitmøller. Until then, feel free to stop by. We won't stop working, but, if necessary, will talk while working. ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Heavy machinery just rolled into our backyard

This man – wrapped in a 20-ton excavator – just tore down a third of Ørhagevej 84. 

This man – wrapped in a 20-ton excavator – just tore down a third of Ørhagevej 84. 

Friday evening we removed everything stored in the back of the building at Ørhagevej 84. Saturday morning two guys came in with some heavy machinery and started tearing down one-third of the old building.

We're indeed rebuilding the place. On October 3, we start laying the foundations for the two new buildings, facing north. It feels great.

Four hours earlier there was a building here.

Four hours earlier there was a building here.

On October 24, we move Cowork Klitmøller to Ørhagevej 185. The place is located 25 meters from the surf house at the tip of Ørhage, so it's not bad. We'll be staying until April 1, when we move into the new building at Ørhagevej 84.

To make things easier, we've made an online booking system. We look forward to seeing you in Klitmøller.

Our good friend, Mathias Nielsen, helped us move everything from the back of the building. 

Our good friend, Mathias Nielsen, helped us move everything from the back of the building. 

Cowork Klitmøller and Guest House Klitmøller will soon be ready for use

The new Cowork Klitmøller will be ready for use in Spring 2017. We are happy to announce that the Guest House Klitmøller and thus ten quality double rooms will be part of the building.

The combination of coworking and accommodation will make it easy for you to decide to spend anything from a day to several days - or perhaps a lifetime - in Cold Hawaii. You can, of course, rent a room at Guest House Klitmøller without renting a space at Cowork Klitmøller and vice versa. To get an impression of before and after click through the slideshow below: 

Admittedly, it's been awhile since you've heard from us. It's a matter of priorities. We have chosen to spend the time figuring out and establishing the right model for the project. We're convinced that we've found it. From now on, you'll hear a bit more from us.

The path up until now has been a long and rather cumbersome journey. If you have a hard time remembering what this is all about, here's a recap:

The idea for Cowork Klitmøller was born in 2011. Cowork Klitmøller is – well – a coworking space and a Matchmaking Zone (hence an ‘open-ended’ coworking space) for people that live in Klitmøller and you, as a visitor. To learn more, watch the video below: 

Hence, the Matchmaking Zone is a place we can meet, connect, think, share and create things together. The purpose of Matchmaking Zones is thus to create value through relationships by providing the best possible conditions for support and cooperation and, above all, the (new) products and services this generates.

Flea market in front of Cowork Klitmølle - on a sunny afternoon, Spring 2016. 

Flea market in front of Cowork Klitmølle - on a sunny afternoon, Spring 2016. 

We're looking forward to seeing you in the new building. Until then, it’s already possible to visit us. It may be as a (short-term) tenant, during one of our Friday bar, or just as someone popping in to say hello. If you’re the latter, please come around midday - that's when we have lunch. There’ll probably be a bite for you, and we’ll have more time to talk.

Wait, there's more! Here's the incredibly long explanation:

Things take time – sometimes a lot more time than expected. We took the first serious steps in developing the idea of a matchmaking zone in Klitmøller, in 2013.

From 2013 to 2014, we participated in a contest organised by Realdania. The process culminated in the fall of 2014 when the project received five million kroner (672247 Euro) through the program 'Place Matters'. At the time, that was equal to 70% of the total budget for a building that was supposed to contain the first matchmaking zone in Denmark.

By Autumn 2015, we had managed to raise the remainder of the financing. We had found and negotiated the price for a piece of land, applied for planning permission, and established a business relationship with Ramboll, as the overall consultant on the project. Let it be said: This sounds (a lot) easier than it was.

As it turned out, we needed a dispensation for the town planning regulations to be able to use the piece of land for the purpose of a matchmaking zone. It turned out to be harder than expected. In fact, we ended up in a situation where we could expect negotiations for up to 12 months including (a lot) of writing back and forth before we could start building.

At this point, the circumstances of the project had pivoted from being about bringing good people with a heart for Klitmøller closer together to something that, most of all, was a struggle to realise a very complex physical construction.

We were in a crisis and seriously considering throwing in the towel – ultimately for practical reasons. All work related to the project was voluntary and eating up so much time that not enough was left to earn the money needed to survive.

There's a good chance that that was what I was thinking about one morning on my way to work at Ørhagevej 84. This is the place where the current Cowork Klitmøller is located. Up until the beginning of 2014, it served as the workshop for the local car mechanic. 

Find the place on the map below. Use the map controls to move closer: 

 

I'm Rasmus Johnsen. I was the first to introduce the idea of a matchmaking zone in Klitmøller. I'm an old windsurfer and have lived in the village since 2006. Together with the local surf club, I created the first masterplan for Cold Hawaii. Since then, I've been involved in several projects in Klitmøller. Among other things, I've helped organise the Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup since 2010.

Family selfie: from left – me, next to me my wife, Mette. Above her our son, Ejner, to the right our daughter, Ingrid (the elephant's name is Bodil). 

Family selfie: from left – me, next to me my wife, Mette. Above her our son, Ejner, to the right our daughter, Ingrid (the elephant's name is Bodil). 

Outside the building, I met Rasmus Fejerskov. Fejerskov is the owner of Westwind Klitmøller and has lived in the village since 2004. He told me that he was thinking about buying the building at Ørhagevej 84 with the aim of repurposing it for a guest house in Klitmøller.

Rasmus Fejerskov together with his wife, Helle. Helle will be in charge of Guest House Klitmøller once we're up and running.  

Rasmus Fejerskov together with his wife, Helle. Helle will be in charge of Guest House Klitmøller once we're up and running.  

I explained our situation to Fejerskov. It turned into a longer conversation, which slid into an agreement that the combination of accommodation and an open coworking space could be the perfect cocktail.

After that, things moved quickly. It soon became apparent to us that we both wanted to pursue a partnership. I included the other coworkers. Everyone supported the idea. For a few days, we considered the pros and cons. The pros won, and Fejerskov and I decided to join forces.

Up to that point, Cowork Klitmøller had been a non-profit association. It isn't anymore. Instead, Fejerskov and I have founded a company called Ørhagevej 84 ApS. We each own 50% of the company. Through this company, we bought the old workshop at Ørhagevej 84.

Up until the beginning of 2014, Ørhagvej 84 served as the workshop for the local car mechanic. On my left (with the gray beard) is Jørgen Beck, the mechanic, who previously ran the workshop for 35 years. The garage, we're standing in, will be turned into the new Cowork Klitmøller.

Up until the beginning of 2014, Ørhagvej 84 served as the workshop for the local car mechanic. On my left (with the gray beard) is Jørgen Beck, the mechanic, who previously ran the workshop for 35 years. The garage, we're standing in, will be turned into the new Cowork Klitmøller.

The company is the focal point for the renovation and reconstruction that will convert the building into the new Cowork Klitmøller and Guest House Klitmøller, which will start in late September and be completed by April 2017. From then on, only basic building operations will be done through Ørhagevej 84 ApS.

I'll rent 40% of the building, and this part will become Cowork Klitmøller. The people who rent a space at Cowork Klitmøller, will, in essence, be my tenants. Helle Fejerskov, Rasmus Fejerskov's wife, will rent the remainder, and this part will become Guest House Klitmøller. The people who rent a room there will be her tenants.

Light blue is reserved for Cowork Klitmøller. Dark blue is reserved for  Guest House Klitmøller  and thus ten quality double rooms will be part of the building also containing Cowork Klitmøller. It's gonna be awesome. Right = south, facing  Ørhagevej .  

Light blue is reserved for Cowork Klitmøller. Dark blue is reserved for Guest House Klitmøller and thus ten quality double rooms will be part of the building also containing Cowork Klitmøller. It's gonna be awesome. Right = south, facing Ørhagevej.  

In other words, Cowork Klitmøller and Guest House Klitmøller will be two different businesses working closely together.

Realdania doesn't support what – after all – are “for-profit companies”. For that reason, we withdrew from our engagement with them. Furthermore, we didn't buy the aforementioned piece of land – and finally ended our collaboration with Ramboll. 

Letting go of 5 million DKK was easier than expected. Also, we let go of 600.000 DKK (80690 Euro) from the Færch Foundation. Remaining is 350,000 DKK (47000 Euro), which we're grateful to have received from Fisheries Local Action Group. Everything else is our responsibility.

In exchange, we now have the freedom to manage the project and thus to focus on what we believe will become a cosy, warm-hearted, and super exciting place in Klitmøller.

Fejerskov and I will be in charge of the reconstruction of Ørhagevej 84. Fejerskov is a skilled craftsman and has previously been responsible for a number of construction projects. During the reconstruction we'll both be working full-time on the project. It feels good ...

The building will be simpler and less expensive - but still very nice. The original idea is the same. So are the values. The main driving force will be the things we all bring to the place. We hope to see you in Klitmøller – again and again.

Sing along during the legendary Cowork Klitmøller Christmas party (2015). Starting left, in the foreground, Anna Thorsager; behind her (right), Anne Werner; behind her (left), Benthe Boesen; to her right, Troels Schwarz; on his right, Tommy Røsholt; on his right (in the foreground), Marianne Søstrøm Storm; behind to her right, Anette Balker; to her right, Tina Bach; to her left, Susanne Steinfath; to her left, Berit Hansen; in front of her, Therese Thomsen. Playing was Heine Thomsen. What a lovely bunch of people! The guy in the jacket – well, that's me. 

Sing along during the legendary Cowork Klitmøller Christmas party (2015). Starting left, in the foreground, Anna Thorsager; behind her (right), Anne Werner; behind her (left), Benthe Boesen; to her right, Troels Schwarz; on his right, Tommy Røsholt; on his right (in the foreground), Marianne Søstrøm Storm; behind to her right, Anette Balker; to her right, Tina Bach; to her left, Susanne Steinfath; to her left, Berit Hansen; in front of her, Therese Thomsen. Playing was Heine Thomsen. What a lovely bunch of people! The guy in the jacket – well, that's me. 

I wanted to be Bruce Lee

I met Marcus at the European Coworking Conference 2015 in Milan. His project immediately caught my attention. He was kind of creating what we were creating here in Klitmøller. The main difference is that his space, ALPEAN, is located in Flims Laax in the Swiss Alps, two hours southeast of Zurich. The place was earlier known only to very few outside of Switzerland, but now is quickly climbing the list of favored ski resorts. I'm pleased to present Marcus's story.

Q: What is your story, your background?

A: I grew up in Basel, a lovely town [in the] north of Switzerland. I preferred playing different sports, sleeping through school lessons, and eating during breaks.

After high school, I focused all my energy on martial arts. I wanted to be Bruce Lee. After several bouts of serious lower back pain, I gave up; I turned to skiing. A skiing accident brought me down to earth—at least for a short period. The subsequent rehabilitation developed my interest in physical therapy. I returned to school to become a physiotherapist.

After finishing my degree I worked in different clinics and for the international Scott Downhill team as a physiotherapist. At a certain point, I wanted to settle down and decided to open a rehabilitation clinic in Laax. I also started offering group training. In 2008, I developed and kickstarted the event series, Kick the Vik. It's a 3-day Laax mountain hut happening in the winter.

Q: What came before your decision to create a coworking space?

A: Running my clinic and being the main driving force behind Kick the Vik, I led a rather versatile and busy life. At the time, my flat looked like an office-jungle. I needed a place separate from my home where I could work, meet people, share projects and drink good coffee. In July 2015, I was offered a chance to buy an old restaurant. I did and later renovated the place. I opened the doors to ALPEAN 2nd of January, 2016.

Q: What kind of space have you created?

A: We have 220m2 of office space. It includes a bar with three bookable tables for small groups. We have a lounge, workbenches, and seven ergonomic tables with adjustable height. We also installed a PS4 and beamer for gaming and video sessions. We just installed the electronic locks and therefore offer 24-hour entry.

Q: What's your day-to-day role at the space?

A: I'm the private owner of the place; I rent it to ALPEAN. I'm responsible for the daily operations.

Q: How is the space different from other coworking spaces?

A: The space is 300m away from a top skiing resort. In the summer, it's the best place for mountain biking. There is a bus stop 100m away and a small shop, which is open from 7:00 - 22:00. For city people, it might be not special, but for mountain resorts, it is.

Q: Why should I (definitely) visit your space?

A: Well, if you love being active in nature – especially skiing or mountain biking, if you love spending time and working with likeminded people, ALPEAN is the place for you. The people at my place are helpful and open-minded, and the coffee is (damn) good.

Q: Where do you see your space in five years?

A: It might be different depending on the experience we get in the next few months, so I don't want to say too much now.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to create a coworking space?

A: As a greenhorn, I'm still experimenting, but I would say this: Define how you want to handle the noises in your space. That means telling your coworkers they better not do a longer phone call or make facilities that'll make it possible to have long conversations without interrupting others.

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Thanks a lot, Marcus. Coworking and skiing most certainly could be our next adventure.